Online Crazy Games Overview: Instruments of Destruction

There is one narrow but interesting sub-genre of sandbox crazy games, the main idea of ​​which is to show how beautiful destruction can be. Among its recent representatives, one can immediately recall the medieval siege engine designer Besiege and the robbery simulator Teardown .  

Arriving on Steam Early Access, Instruments of Destruction from indie studio Friv5Online provides another opportunity to unleash your desire for destruction. Luke  Schneider, the only author of the crazy game, has experience in creating such projects - at one time he took part in the development of Red Faction: Guerrilla, where you could break environmental elements as you please.  

In the videos, Instruments of Destruction looks very attractive, primarily due to the high detail of destruction. But can she offer anything other than a pretty picture?

Instruments of Destruction against the background of the same Besiege and Teardown looks quite strict: there is no story and plot (as in  Teardown ) or humor with intentional grotesque (as in  Besiege ). On the contrary, it’s not like we have a crazy game, but a serious design simulator, which is once again emphasized by the conciseness of the visual style. Nothing superfluous - clear geometric shapes, "chopped" interface and calm colors. Sometimes you think: is it definitely not a benchmark in front of us?

There are a dozen unique islands in the crazy game, each with its own landscape, but access to them is opened gradually, as experience points are accumulated. There are three types of quests on each island, unlocked one after the other, and their goal is not always to destroy something - sometimes you just need to get to key points or transfer objects from one place to another. But vandalism, voluntary or involuntary, is still indispensable.

The destructibility model in  Instruments of Destruction looks like the most detailed one ever seen in a video crazy game. Each element of any structure, be it a building, a pillar, a bridge or a wall, can be broken down into the smallest details. All this is calculated in real time and with the high settings of the physics simulation set (especially the particle detail loads the system) it looks very impressive.

On the other hand, it cannot be said that the destruction is 100% realistic: the debris disappears after a while, and individual elements sometimes behave strangely, especially during explosions and interaction with the machines created by the player.

After a while, the process of demolishing buildings gets boring - without a clear context, even the most detailed simulation model is not able to hold attention for a long time. The system of tasks does not help much either, especially since they are quite easy to complete.

If there was only destruction in the crazy game, then  one could safely forget about IoD after an hour or two - destroying houses quickly gets boring. But the name of the project hints at the fact that we have a crazy game not only about destruction.

To break something, you must first build something. In our case, however, we are not talking about the object of destruction, but about the mechanisms that will deal with this very destruction. In fact, Instruments of Destruction  is also a construction simulator. Of course, you can use ready-made samples from the local fleet of equipment from the developer, but it’s much more interesting to come up with and bring to life something of your own.

In this regard, the crazy game resembles Kerbal Space Program, with the only difference being that we build rockets there, and here ... And here you can build whatever your heart desires. The scope for imagination is almost limitless, given the presence of many different structural elements from blocks and wheels to hinges, cables and rocket engines. Standard crawler dozer? Elementary! Crane on a wheeled platform with a magnet on a cable? Is quite real. A huge walker with cannons, chainsaws and a ball on a chain to demolish walls that can jump over obstacles? Difficult, but nothing is impossible! 

The construction of unique death machines is facilitated by the fact that realism in their behavior is conditional. Of the mandatory elements - only the control cabin; there are no engines or fuel tanks, moving elements always work if they do not interfere with each other, but most importantly, the created “tool of destruction” is not able to break itself. And you can’t find worthy opponents among all these saw-knives-cannons among the objects on the map: the destruction of buildings is only a matter of time, and it doesn’t take too much to break even the thickest wall.

As a result, it turns out that sitting in the editor, inventing a particularly intricate design, is much more interesting than practicing its destructive properties. The very destructibility that first of all attracts attention, in fact, turns out to be deeply worked out only externally. Yes, everything is broken into tiny pieces, but there is nothing behind the detailed picture.

The situation is not saved by the tasks that must be completed in order to open new islands and spare parts - there are too few tests, and they are made frankly ingenuously. For example, of the restrictions (which, moreover, are not always there), only the cost of the entire machine is present. Why not add technical requirements, such as the mandatory use (or, conversely, prohibition) of specific elements?

You can immediately come up with several improvements that will increase the variety of gameplay. There are new tasks, and battles between cars (but for this you need to add destructibility to them), and the ability to independently create islands and buildings on them - the dozen locations that are available quickly get bored. But with all this, there is still a frank deficit: only the machine editor and the destruction system itself can be considered fully finalized. And it is far from a fact that something from the listed wish list will be added.

On the ground, someone carefully placed powerful mines, and the buildings sometimes have the notorious red barrels. The explosion will not destroy the car, but it can turn it over or throw it into the water, where it will immediately sink.

The results of a closer acquaintance with  Instruments of Destruction confirm the first impression - we have only a demonstration of the engine's capabilities and a benchmark for the video card. As is often the case with such projects, focused on a single narrow aspect, what is happening on the screen is unlikely to captivate for a long time. Breaking and destroying houses is interesting only at first, and the machine designer, although rich in possibilities, remains a “thing in itself” without a full-fledged practical application and is not of great interest.

But there is good news - do not forget that this is only a beta version, which will stay in early access for at least a year (or even several years). This time is enough to make a full-fledged crazy game out of  Instruments of Destruction.